Wait. Was there an earthquake today? Fiddle dee dee! Puppies!

So, it looks like Jeff’s workplace is putting out a pet calendar, and the person who scores the cover image gets something like a million dollars or a free pancake dinner or something in between. I’ve decided that we don’t necessarily need the cover, but we do need a spot within.

Will you help me decide which photo to submit? It looks like each person is allowed only one entry. Oh my word, I’m living in a pressure cooker over here! Life can be so tricky sometimes, no?

Photo #1: Scout in the Pool (This would make a great July shot, don’t you think?!)
Dog Days, etc.

Photo #2: Scout’s Big Puppy Feet (Why do we still have the pink carpet?! WHY?!?!?!)
Puppy feet!

Photo #3: Father’s Day! (This is good, because we’re also advertising one of the company’s books!)
Happy Father's Day.

Photo #4: Scout in Motion!
Scout in Motion

Photo #5: Scout’s First Day as a Pudding!

Photo #6: I can’t leave Henry out of the mix, but this is my only decent shot of him, and he’s showing his boy part…

Photo #7: Luna with Laptop on her back. (Rest in peace, Luna.)
Now I get it.

Photo #8: Sidney and Ramona Quimby
Sid & Ramona

Honestly, I’m leaning toward #4 or #5, but I would love to get your input. Because, really. What else do you have going on over there? (I know! Have I thanked you lately for putting up with me?!) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I try not to whine. (Today I’m not trying very hard.)

Last night at approximately 12:52, the cat freaked out, jumped onto the bed, and attacked my feet. It was a three Band-Aid attack, and it has set the mood for the morning. (If I was a mood ring wearing person, today would be something like black or red or flame throwing or whatever color symbolizes I Should Probably Take a Xanax.) ((My kids complimented  me a LOT this morning, which they tend to do when I’m shooting sparks out of my eyeballs.))

I love Scout. I love Henry. I’m having a difficult time loving Scout AND Henry. (Don’t get me wrong. I will get through this.) The dogs are at each others’ throats from the time they are released from their crates in the morning (at approximately 6:00) until they are put back into the crates for bed (at approximately 10:00). During their awake hours, they are fighting and/or growling at each other. Constantly. About half of the time, I can tell that they’re playing. The other half? It starts off as playing, but then leads to something else entirely. SO, I’ve been spending my days trying to engage them and/or separate them. Henry is eleven weeks old, and he was just diagnosed with a bacterial infection as well as a skin infection. In my mind, he needs rest. (Perhaps I’m projecting!) Scout won’t let it happen. SO, I put Scout in her crate so Henry can have Henry time, and both dogs end up yelling and growling through the crate door. (Oh, man. I’m boring you again! Wake up! Please?) They love each other. They hate each other. I just want to eat falafel and sit on the couch…

Oh! Oh! (I really am good at whining! Buckle up!) Scout is pretty good at the whole training pad thing. Henry? Not so much. (Yet.) SO, I take both of them outside several times each day to do their business and run around. Because of our outside time, I now have ten (TEN!) of those big nasty swollen mosquito bites on my arms, and several more tiny ones on my ankles. (I smell really good, people. I’ve been using blackberry scented lotion! Bugs are really drawn to me, as are women in the freezer section of the grocery store. (I don’t know.))

When Jeff and I are complaining about silly things and we catch ourselves losing perspective, we tend to say, “It’s a living hell.” If you look at the big picture, we’re dipped in Nothing To Complain About. Oh, but the growling. The GROWLING! And the fighting. And the bug bites! And I’m limping today because I Was Attacked By My Own Cat. Living hell? Living hell.

Always End On A Good Note: Tempe and I had lunch yesterday at VegaDeli, where I enjoyed a Greek Wrap and some apple/beet/carrot juice. This may just be my new favorite place in St. Louis.

Someone make the fighting stop. (I know it will eventually stop.)

Poor Itchy Bullied Henry.


And Poor Mean Girl Scout.


And this is where I would put a photo of my feet along with a Poor Mangled Me, but we all know how I am about feet. Enjoy your day. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Welcome, Henry Huggins!

As you know, we’ve been talking about getting a sibling for Scout.

Last week, the wonderful woman who helped us adopt Scout sent this link to me. We immediately fell in love with ALL of the puppies, but were most interested in adopting either Brownie (a female) or Scout (a male).

Long Story Shortened Because You Like It Like That: The woman fostering the pups took them to an adoption event today, and she held Brownie and Scout back for us. We got there and pretty much immediately knew that Brownie was a bit too quiet and cuddly for Scout’s aggressive ways. However, I’m pleased to report that Scout and Scout got along famously. Much sniffing and wagging!

Foster Mom: I have to warn you, Scout likes to put his paws in his water bowl and go crazy with splashing!

Me: So does our Scout!

Foster Mom: Also, he had an umbilical hernia, so you might want to keep an eye on that.

Me: So did our Scout!

(It was meant to be. I shall now adopt every dog named Scout and fill my house with Scouts.)

The girls and I held a quick meeting, where we decided that New Scout (who is 1/2 Beagle, 1/4 Shih Tzu, and 1/4 Brussels Griffon) looks like a Henry Huggins. (We name all of our pets after characters in books.) We filled out the papers, paid the fee, and brought our new family member home, where we’ll all live happily ever after. (Except for the cats, who are sitting in the basement applying black eyeliner, listening to Morrissey, and wondering what the hell is going on.)

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Some might say I’m trying to fill some sort of hole in my life…

It seems that we’re now in the home stretch of our summer vacation. This week we finalized our backpack and school supply decisions, delivered our blank t-shirts to the embroiderers, and tentatively decided to add another dog to our family.

Next week the girls have College for Kids, and the week after that we’ll find out who their teachers are.

School starts on August 15, and my tubes will be tied on the 19th.

I’ll be finishing The Namesake before the weekend is up and giving Room a shot.

I’ve been working on my Christmas knitting list.

Also, I’m now taking a magnesium supplement every night before bed.

Did I mention that we’re thinking about adding another dog to the family?

Do you have a dog? Two dogs? Three dogs? Two dogs are better than one, right? Can you imagine how smiley our house would be if Scout had a brother? A Dachsund mix brother?!

New bottom tooth and new tag!Chip!

After the 19th, I’ll no longer be able to have human babies. BUT, nobody said anything about canine babies!!!
Wait. I’m knitting a hat or gloves for a lucky reader. You can read all about it right here! (Your chances are really good!) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

She was an American Girl, Tom Petty.

Early last week we drove to Kansas City, where we did a little bit of this.

The Kansas City American Girl Store!

(The girls did eventually enter the store.)

You know, while I was pregnant, I swore that my daughters would not become girly girls. I also swore that they wouldn’t watch a bunch of television and that they would be good eaters. Anyway. Meredith took an American Girl class at her school’s summer enrichment program, and the girls have been reading the American Girl books and choosing their favorite characters (and saving their money, believe it or not) for the past several weeks.

Nicole and Meredith

Meredith knew exactly who she was looking for when we entered the store—Just Like Me Doll #53. She and Jeff headed to that end of the store while Harper asked a sales associate to talk her through the historical dolls so she could make the right decision. (I think she knew exactly who she wanted, but enjoyed “interviewing” the store employee to get more facts.)

Harper and Molly

It’s Molly! Her time period in the books is set during World War II, and I knew that Harper was paying attention to this when she told Meredith that “Molly likes to sleep a lot, because sleeping helps her forget about the war.” Admittedly, I haven’t read the books, but I have to wonder what led to Harper’s immediate need to get a wheelchair for Molly. (“She won’t be able to walk again for at least two years. Or more.”) So, while Nicole (JLM#53) is jumping around and trying on earrings (Yes. Both dolls got their ears pierced at the Doll Hair Salon.), Molly is sitting in a wheelchair wishing that this whole war thing had never happened.

You may think the American Girl thing is crazy. Here’s what I think is crazy:

Crazy Fudge Man

Crazy Fudge Guy. He slapped the fudge and threw the fudge and made bad fudge jokes and although I felt the same level of discomfort around him that I tend to feel around circus clowns and college mascots, he threw me over the edge when he passed his fudge spatula around the room and encouraged everyone to fill their finger with fresh fudge. (If you know me, you know that I cannot touch food like that. Standing around watching people fudge themselves and then lick their fingers threw me into crazy panic mode.)

So, we left and found a miniature waterfall.

Don't go chasing waterfalls.

Later that evening, I was able to evaluate my decision to stick with vegetarianism as Jeff ate one of the only things I miss—big deep fried crazy meat sandwiches sprinkled in powdered sugar with raspberry preserves on the side. Ah, Monte Cristo. (I remained strong. After 12 months of vegetables and beans, I will NOT let a deep fried meat and cheese sandwich bring me down!) ((I dipped my fries in the raspberry preserves.))

Monte Cristo!

Remind me sometime to tell you about when we tried to make a Monte Cristo during the university days. It weighed about ten pounds and was filled with oil and was probably not very safe to eat, but we still managed to eat it, because it had taken so much effort to make—what with our lack of a proper Fry Daddy and all. We also ate a turkey on the roof of our house on New Year’s Eve and danced in the snowy street on Groundhog Day. Those were the days. Speaking of which, after we left Kansas City on Thursday, we went to Columbia, Missouri—the town where I danced in the street and ate a turkey on the roof and attempted to make a decent Monte Cristo.

Shakespeare’s doesn’t carry orange soda anymore, and I think that’s insane because nothing goes with broccoli pizza like orange soda.

Oh, broccoli pizza! How I love you!

(They now carry Coke products. And maybe they’ve ALWAYS carried Coke products. I don’t know, because I ALWAYS HAD ORANGE SODA. Dr. Pepper is NOT an acceptable replacement. Life can be so hard sometimes.)

MC loves Shakespeare's!

The girls didn’t mind the lack of orange soda. They love Shakespeare’s. They love watching the pizza being made, and they love that the guy who was making it flipped some dough over the window for them to play with. Best of all, my love for Mizzou is rubbing off on them. The one thing they wanted to do before we left town was have their photo taken by the columns with their American Girl dolls.

The Girls and The Girls at The Columns

(The quad was blocked off, so we had to stay on the sidewalk. Not a big deal. We’ll be back.)

On the way home, I put about three inches worth of sock on my needles.

Knitting Socks on the Road

I haven’t felt very enthusiastic about socks lately, but last week something happened that suddenly made me feel enthusiastic about socks. More on that later. When they’re done.

(We boarded Scout for four days and three nights while we were gone. When we picked her up, she had been bathed and bandanafied, and we have photo evidence that she enjoyed playing in the pool with the big dogs. Meanwhile, the cats were home entertaining ideas of us eventually returning WITHOUT Scout. Sometimes, it’s nice to dream.)

Back from Puppy Camp! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Cake Balls and Dog Dreams

How nice is it that as of now, 100% of the comments to my previous post were supportive? I really do appreciate your thoughts and opinions and funny stories. Come over to my house. I made a batch of cake balls. Let’s eat them.

Really. I made a batch of cake balls.

Purple Cake Balls!

They’re purple with pink stripes and white cake with white icing and I’ve eaten at least four of them today.

Jeff is on a business trip in Florida. As I sit here typing, he is eating breakfast at Downtown Disney.

(I made a batch of cake balls. Let’s eat them.)

This has nothing to do with that: When Meredith was three years old, she got really angry with me one afternoon, and she screamed, “I’m going to poop on your pillow, and then I’m going to poop on your wedding rings!!!” (Please know that when I’m especially frustrated, I tell Jeff that I’m going to poop on his wedding ring. Please also know that I would never actually do such a thing, as I am Refined. Like sugar.)

Anyway, Scout has been going through a phase in which she likes to do her business in the girls’ bedroom. (On the floor. Never on Meredith’s pillow.) To me, it’s a taste of What Goes Around Comes Around or Spinning Wheel Got to Go Round or something to that effect. (Speaking of which, I never did get a spinning wheel. The fever has settled for now, as I’m having trouble finding time to use my spindle, which leads me to believe that I really have no time to deal with a wheel right now.)

Why am I not spinning? Because I’m spending most of my waking hours with this:

Conehead Nap

Scout has discovered that she can’t really do much with the cone around her face. She tends to knock her food dish over with the cone, so I have to feed her by hand. She can’t run full speed under the couch while wearing the cone, so I have to help her find alternate hiding places. When she takes a drink, she slobbers onto the cone, and then it drips onto her neck when she lifts her face up—and she can’t scratch her neck because of the cone, so I’m constantly having to wipe OUT the cone and scratch her neck! (I know. I’m creating a monster.) ARGH! Scout HAS discovered a bit of a coping mechanism, and that is: Naps. Naps filled with dreams of what she COULD be doing while wearing that stinking cone.

She could be walking on the moon. (She has always been a fan of The Police.)

Scout on the Moon

She could be One Less Lonely Girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

Scout is One Less Lonely Girl

Best of all, she could be Ira Glass’s dangling earring, which would allow her to whisper sweet somethings into his ear. (Sweet nothings are for amateurs. Scout is a woman of substance. Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust!)

Scout is Ira Glass's Earring!

(As Mr. Glass performs in St. Louis on Saturday evening, Peter Gabriel will be performing in Kansas City. Missouri wins the Saturday Night Coolness Award.)

((Meanwhile, the cone comes off tomorrow morning. You’ll probably hear our rejoicing all the way over there.)) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Sundays with Scout


Me: So, Scout—what the heck is going on with the cone?

Scout: Well, as you know, I had my ovario-hysterectomy on Friday. I was all groggy afterward, and my crate was smeared with feces! It was a terrible day!

Me: I know it was! The drive home was maddening! Poopy crate on my lap. You falling around inside the crate. Rush hour traffic! Harper yelling that she had to use the restroom so we had to pull over at Home Depot!

Scout: It was like that Chevy Chase Vacation movie, but without John Candy!

Me: Kind of! So, tell us about the day after your surgery!

Scout: Well, I remained groggy. And I couldn’t walk without getting all jerky and falling down. And I kept licking myself. And I didn’t pee for 24 hours.

Me: So we took you to the Emergency Vet Clinic where they decided that you were having a slight reaction to the sutures, and that your incision site was inflamed. Then what happened?!

Scout: They gave me a really painful shot, a bottle of NSAID chewies, and they sent me home with a cone around my head! Then what happened?!

Me: You slept through the night and acted like your old self this morning—but then we noticed that you were peeing every fifteen minutes and that, erm, it was a bit bloody.

Scout: You just lost fifteen readers!

Me: I know! So, anyway, we went BACK to the Emergency Vet Clinic, where they took a tiny sample and determined that you had elevated white blood cells, protein, and blood in your urine!

Scout: You to the Tee Eye! Have YOU ever had a urinary tract infection?

Me: Yes, I have. They’re TERRIBLE! The burning! The frequency!

Scout: Being a woman is tricky, yo. BUT, at least I can rest easy knowing that the unfixed poodle across the street isn’t going to sneak into the house and get me pregnant!

Me: Don’t even get me started. But, yeah. I get you. Speaking of which, do you have any opinions on the Mirena? Because now that you’re fixed, I’m once again thinking about getting MYSELF fixed, and everybody’s all, “Mirena! Say it loud and there’s music playing, say it soft and it’s almost like praying!

Scout: That may be true, but how do you solve a problem like Mirena?!

Scout and Me: Ha. Ha ha. HA HA HA HA HA!!!

Me: Hey. Have you heard of that thing where people say that dogs and their owners have similar personalities, and that they eventually start to look alike?

Scout: I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it, E.B. White!

Me: Okay then. You’re probably right.

What they say is true. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Welcome to my migraine!

So, here we are again. It’s Day #3 of my monthly migraine, and although I thought I was on the right track yesterday, it turns out that I was not, and that always bums me out a bit. I’m now keeping a migraine journal, and it looks a little something like this:

June 7: Ouch! Took a Maxalt. Pain: 7/10 … 8/10? Pain!
June 8: Better in the morning? Continued with the preventatives. Not so great in the evening, writing it off as stress.
June 9: Ouch! Ouch! Not sure if it’s stress or hormonal. Took a cocktail pill. Two hours later, determined that it IS hormonal, but am now unable to take a big gun pill, because I took a cocktail pill! Life is spent paying for mistakes and bad judgment and IT’S BEHIND MY RIGHT EYE! Called doctor. Received permission to take big gun pill at 6:00 this evening. Am now counting down the minutes. 320!!!

I go back to the migraine doctor at the end of July. The final straw would be the application of a hormone patch during one week out of the month. We’re hoping to find a pill that will do the trick before we have to resort to the patch. Anyway. Wake up out there so I can talk about the dog! I know! (Believe me. I know!)

Last night was Scout’s second obedience class. Sadly, I’m currently reading a book that goes against a lot of the things that the instructor is saying to us. (For example, the book says that anyone who makes a blanket statement about a certain breed of dog is taking the easy way out. Saying “All beagles whine and are difficult to train.” is like saying, “All white people like coconut cream pie.” (I *do* like coconut cream pie, if anyone is interested in meeting me for some.)) Anyway, last night the instructor held Scout like a baby with all four paws in the air, and Scout hated it and screamed like she was in pain. Because of the screaming, the instructor sprayed bitter apple into Scout’s mouth and said, “It looks like she’s used to being the boss! She needs to learn that she’s not the boss!” Okay. First of all? Scout’s not the boss. She’s doing really well with all of the training elements of obedience training. To me, spraying bitter apple into her mouth because she didn’t like being held like a baby is sort of like punching my nephew in the face because he doesn’t like chocolate.

I’m the first to admit that I’m not the expert. The fact that I’m uncomfortable with the whole bitter apple thing probably puts a big “Naive Dog Owner” stamp on my forehead. (During class last week, I was accused of engaging in Wussy Talk. I’m still not sure how to respond to that, which probably indicates that I AM a wussy talker.) BUT, I did notice that Scout was quiet and hid from the instructor during the remainder of class last night. (Last week Scout was the crazy misfit during class, so it was a noticeable change.)

(As I type these potentially mind-numbing paragraphs, please know that Scout is under the computer table whispering things like, “That bitter apple crap is whack, yo.” and “I tend to prefer Sondre Lerche’s Human Hands to the Elvis Costello version.” (We all have our opinions.))

Tomorrow morning at 7:00, I will drive Scout to an animal hospital in the city where she will have her lady parts removed. What a discouraging week it has been for her. I wonder if dogs get migraines.
Only a few hours remain! Come on over and comment. You could win a $100 Visa gift card! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

She has been begging us to take her to Trinidad.

We’ve spent the past three weeks becoming familiar with Scout’s puppy quirks.

She is an ankle biter. If I’m in the bathroom, she tends to relieve herself on the floor outside the bathroom door. She loves running full speed under the couch, and has actually ripped up a lot of the fabric beneath both couches. We love her.

Scout’s latest quirk involves digging all of the water out of her water bowl. When the bowl is emptied, she continues to “run” inside the bowl. Because the bowl is stainless steel, part of me believes that she’s trying to engage the puppy she sees in the mirror. Also, part of me is Very Annoyed with this, as I’ve been spending a lot of time wiping up the water.

But wait a minute! My glass is just as half full as any other glass! Perhaps Scout spends her evenings dreaming of the day when she can audition for Caribbean Steel International! (We’ll just keep this little secret to ourselves.)

You still have a chance to win! Come on over and comment. You could win a $100 Visa gift card! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>